Ten man Lions march into next round of Anagrams Trophy


Braces from James Gershfield and Austin Lipman helped London Lions bounce back from last week’s defeat at Wormley Rovers by hammering top of the table side Standon & Puckeridge 4-1 to progress into the next round of Anagrams Record Trophy.

On a freezing cold day at Rowley Lane, which was not helped by the blustery conditions, the Lions produced their best display of the season to date. But it was the away side who started on the front foot with a decent spell of early possession without creating any real chance.

As the half went on Lions grabbed a foothold in the game and started to take control. The first real opportunity fell to the feet of skipper Josh Kennet who found himself in a great position after a swift move, the winger’s close-range shot was saved brilliantly by the keeper.

The game was producing a few tasty tackles, Lipman was brought down 25 yards from goal, he dusted himself off and curled the ball across the keeper to give the Lions the lead.

Lions right-back Josh Pistol was the first name into the book after committing two fouls in quick succession, but "diving antics from Standon’s no. 7 were not helping matters" and Pistol once again found himself involved with the same player. The tricky winger was brought down on halfway by the Lions full back for a third time,the referee didn’t think twice and gave Pistol his marching orders with only 25 minutes gone.

Lions were now down to 10 but this made no difference. The team were driven on by the impressive midfield trio of Jake Furman, Andy Glynne and Charlie Kasler.

Lions forward James Gershfield was putting in a real shift for the team, he got his just rewards when he received a ball with his back to goal, turned his defender ans smashed a powerful left foot shot into the corner to make it 2-0 at the interval.

A few adjustments were made with at half-time, with Andy Glynne slipping into full-back leaving Kasler and Furman to hold the middle of the park.

The opening 10 minutes of the second half was more of the same, with Lions having a golden chance early on to make it 3-0, but Gershfield's shot was tipped around the post. From the resulting short goal-kick Standon & Puckeridge worked the ball well into midfield then drove the ball out wide. The full-back delivered a great cross which fell at the feet of the Standon no. 10 who smashed the ball past Dan Lee to make it 2-1.

These were nervy times for Lions who had to sustain pressure for the next 10 minutes and that told when David Soutar who had replaced Andy Glynne collided with the Standon no. 7 in the box. To say this was a soft penalty was an understatement, Standon’s no. 9 took a short run up and blazed the ball high over the bar.

This was the wake-up call the Lions needed and after great play between Lipman and Gershfield Lions went further ahead as Gershfield drove at the back four, he delayed his pass until the onrushing Lipman made a run on his outside, the reverse ball from Gershfield to Lipman was magical and all Lipman had to do was slip it past the helpless keeper to make it 3-1.

The Lions cemented their passage five minutes from time when Kennet played a great through ball into the path of Gershfield who rounded the keeper to score his second the team's fourth.

Lions manager Andy Landesberg said: "I'm so pleased after last week; work-rate is a minimum when you play football, we got this and a whole lot more, to play with 10 men for 70 minutes the way we did against the top-of-the-table side was remarkable and it could have been more.

"The front three of Austin, Gersh and Josh did not stop all day. Furms, Kas and Glynne battled all day and the back five held firm. I don’t normally praise my son, Nick, in public but he was outstanding today. His timing, tackles and interceptions were all on point but Jake Furman just shaved the man-of-the-match award. He was a beast in there."

Lions Coach Darren Yarlett commented: "This was the reaction we wanted, work-rate, desire, spirit, clinical, these words summed up our performance."

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